Knowledge and Performance in Knowledge-Worker Teams: A Longitudinal Study of Transactive Memory Systems
This study examined how transactive memory systems (TMSs) emerge and develop to affect the performance of knowledge-worker teams. Sixty-four MBA consulting teams (261 members) participated in the study. I proposed that the role and function of TMSs change to meet different task and knowledge demands during a project. Hypotheses predicting that TMSs emerge during a project-planning phase as a function of a team's initial conditions, and later develop and mature as a function of the nature and frequency of communication were generally supported, as were hypothesized relationships between TMSs and team performance and viability. Findings suggest that teams with initially distributed expertise and familiar members are more likely to develop a TMS. Frequent face-to-face communication also led to TMS emergence, but communication via other means had no effect. Teams with more established TMSs later benefited from face-to-face communication, but they were less helped by frequent communication via other means, suggesting that transactive retrieval processes may have been triggered during face-to-face communication and suppressed during other types of communication. TMSs were positively related to team viability and team performance, suggesting that developing a TMS is critical to the effectiveness of knowledge-worker teams.
Volume (Year): 50 (2004)
Issue (Month): 11 (November)
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